Wednesday December 6, 2023

Central Arkansas Football Embraces Digital Engagement in Unique Year

  • Many of UCA's in-game promotions have moved to digital.
  • The Bears continue to place an emphasis on player and coach access for fans.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

This season, most of the football programs within the FCS found themselves either postponing their schedule to the spring of 2021 or playing a limited schedule in the fall. The University of Central Arkansas Bears, on the other hand, are at the tail end of a ten-game fall schedule that includes three home games. 

UCA has allowed roughly 2,400 fans into their stadium that seats 8,000 for home games this season, but in-game on-field promotions had to fall by the wayside. 


For Director of Marketing and Promotions MacKenzie Magwire and the Bears’ marketing staff, this presented an interesting dilemma. 

“We had to try and figure out how to best make sure our sponsors are happy,” Magwire told Front Office Sports. “Our favorite thing that we’ve changed over right now is our Wingstop promotion. So usually we have a Wingstop field goal kick, and this year instead we had a wing eating contest. In that first home game, we had our head football coach versus our equipment manager. We recorded the whole thing, and promoted it on Twitter with a poll asking who fans thought would win.”

A high level of engagement on the Wingstop promotion encouraged the Bears’ staff to find ways to bring other promotions into the digital realm, including trivia, and recognizing fans of the week through their official mobile app built in collaboration with From Now On. This has also meant that the Bears’ social media strategy has demanded significantly more content.

“We’ve all just come together and said, ‘Okay, we need more content out there for all sports,'” Magwire added. “Since our fans can’t go to games, we’re trying to bring a lot of videos of the team behind the scenes. Our creative team does a phenomenal job going into the locker room and getting those fun moments. We’ve shared behind-the-scenes content every once in a while in the past. But this year, our creative marketing team has completely changed the game here for us and moving forward. They’ve been key for us.”

Historically, UCA fans have responded very positively to opportunities to interact with the team behind the scenes, as evidenced by their regular Bear Backers events. In the past, super fans would get to interact with student-athletes in person. Now, Bear fans are getting to do this through the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram presence.

While many of the Bears’ sponsors obviously miss the on-field component of their activations, they are excited to see the team still take the field and receive recognition on digital platforms through digital watch parties and streaming of the coaches’ show.

“Our sponsors are realizing that we can give them more than what they need or even what they are paying for. And they’re very, very appreciative of it,” Magwire said.

As football season begins to come to a close and basketball season looms, the UCA marketing team plans to take many of the lessons they have learned in digital marketing into the next phase of the athletic calendar.

“I have a feeling that the spring is going to be very similar to the fall. we’re going to treat the whole year the same in terms of implementing ways to make fans and sponsors happy,” Magwire added.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

NCAA President Charlie Baker has proposed new rules that would allow athletes to receive more compensation.

New NCAA Proposal Takes Step Toward Compensating Athletes

It does not allow athletes to become employees, however.

Seminoles’ CFP Snub Opens New Front in Disney vs. Florida War

Florida lawmakers are already considering legislation to protest the College Football Playoff's exclusion of Florida State.
JMU football has been spending like a Group of 5 team for years. Now it will play its first bowl game.

James Madison, the FCS Team That Spent Like an FBS Team To Become One

The Dukes have been spending like a Sun Belt program for years.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NCAA Opens Door to Athlete Compensation


Featured Today

The College Football Playoff is considering rotating TV networks for the national championship game.

CFP Considers Super Bowl-Like Rotation For National Championship Game

Multiple networks could share rights to the championship game, sources told FOS.
Brett Favre
November 27, 2023

Favre Welfare Case Hold-Up? "AG’s Office Has Not Expressed Interest In Pursuing"

The DOJ interviewed Brett Favre in early 2020.
The future of the Pac-12 rests on a court decision.
November 24, 2023

The Pac-12 Plays Its Final Regular-Season Game. Then A Court Decides Its Fate.

The conference's future rests with a court decision.
Lane Kiffin
November 9, 2023

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Saco Bay PT
Multiple - USA Careers
FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid in Texas.

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid Set AT&T Stadium Soccer Attendance Record

Sixth Street organized the match as part its U.S. Soccer Champions Tour.
November 14, 2022

Vegas Resorts Going All Out for Formula 1 Grand Prix

MGM Resorts will build a grandstand for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
A young fan holds a sign for Julio Rodriguez during the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby.
July 12, 2023

MLB Median Ticket Buyer Down to 43 Years Old

Games are shorter and higher scoring thanks to new rules.

NHL’s Chris Foster on Amplifying Content Distribution With Automation

Learn how the NHL is using WSC Sports to increase fan engagement.

How QuintEvents is Changing the Game of Premium Fan Experiences

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in the psyche…
October 7, 2022

MLB Attendance Pops Up, But Falls Below 2019 Levels

MLB attendance rose from 2021, but still lagged behind 2019 levels.
September 16, 2022

Baron Davis, Michele Roberts Help Launch Fan Controlled Hoops

The league will begin its inaugural season on Feb. 7, 2023 in Atlanta.

Webinar: How to Improve the Fan Experience at the Stadium and Online

Learn how pro sports teams are improving the fan experience.